In the year 2015-2016, the Government have sanctioned a sum of Rs. 10 Lakhs to conduct excavation at Pattaraiperumbudur of Tiruvallur District. The excavation reveals the politicalsocio-cultural significance of these historical places in ancient Tamil Nadu.


Name & Locality of The Site - Pattaraiperumbudur (130 09 '13' 'N. 790 49' 26 ''E)

Tiruvallur Diistrict, Tamil Nadu

Nature of the site – Stone age, Iron age and Early historical period
Excavated period – April to July 2016

Location of the site:

It is situated on the eastern bank of the river Kosathalaiyar and lies on the western side of Tiruvallur, the district head quarter which is about 60 km from Chennai. It looks like a plain terrain. It is mainly drained by the river kosathalaiyar which is one of the ancient river basins in Tondaimanadala region.

Excavated period – April to July 2016

Excavation team –

Supervisor : Shri. R.Sivanantham, Dy.Sup.Archaeologist i/c

Co-Director: Shri. J.Baskar, Archaeological Officer

Archaeologists : Shri. J.Ranjith

Shri. P.Baskar

Historical background

This place is surrounded by a number of prehistoric sites like Gudiyam, Attirampakkam, Vadamadurai, Neyveli, Parikulam etc. This area has been continuously inhabited by human right from prehistoric period. According to the inscriptions found at this place, it was called by different names at different times. An epigraph of Pallava king Aparajithavarman dated in the year 900 A,D., mentioned the place as ‘perumur’. The name perumur seems to the ancient name of this village. It is stated in the inscription that perumur was in the geographical division of perumur nadu in Ikkatu kottam of Tondaimandalam. It highlights that this village functioned as important centre in the surounding area. Another important inscription at this place belongs to Kulothunga I, chola King dated in the year 1070 A.D., mentioned as ‘simhalantaka chaturvedi mangalam’. Simhalantaka was a title borne by Rajaraja I. From this it is understood that most probably, during the reign of Rajaraja I, this village granted to brahmins with a surname ‘simhalantaka chadurvedhimangalam’. The word ‘Pattaraiperumbudur’ can be divided into pattarai+ perumbudur. According to Tamil lexicon, pattarai means a community, or a sanakkutam or guild of workmen. Another meaning of pattarai is smithy (a worker in iron) perumbur means a village of significance or importance. Therefore a large group of black smiths could have lived in this village, so that it could have been called as ‘pattariperumbudur’.

Exploration at the site

The site was identified by Shri.D.Thulasiraman, The Asst.Director (Rtd) in the year 2002 during the course of village to village survey in Tiruvallur District. Then The primary exploration was conducted at the site during the season 2014-15 for carrying out the excavation. The archaeological mound found at three places in the village namely anaimedu, nathamedu and irulanthoppu. The first two places located at the southern side of the village. Now these lands are used for cultivation. The third one irulanthoppu located in the present village. An intensive survey of these mounds brought to light, numerous potsherds including black and red ware, black ware, lid knobs of iron age and orange slipped ware, red ware, conical jar pieces of early historical period. Apart from these , stone tools, iron slags, storage jar pieces were also noticed on the surface.


In order to examine the potentiality of the archaeological vestiges the excavation was conducted at the place in April 2016. There are two localities named as PPR-I and PPR-II were taken up to digging work. PPR-I is comprising the areas of anaimedu and nathamedu and PPR-II named to the irulanthoppu as the second locality of the present excavation. The lay out of trenches were measured as 10x10m grid system. Among the grid the trenches like A1, YL1,YH6,YH8 and A1 (PPR-II) were taken up for excavation. There are twelve quadrants have been excavated in the current seasonal work.

During the course of excavation it has been found that area was accumulating the rich archaeological vestiges right from prehistoric period to early historical period. The deposit contain stone tools, different type of potteries, bricks, iron slags, roofing tiles, ring well and other house holding objects in different levels of the excavated trenches. Tools like hand axe, scrapper, blade, point, ovates were found in the bottom of the trenches which are represented to the Palaeolithic culture of the site. These are made out of quartzite stone . Microlithic tools include borer, scraper also found in the next level of palaeolithic assemblage. Three neolithic celts in basalt and dolerite stones were also unearthed along with potsherd of burnished grey ware. Apart from the stone age tools the existence of iron age culture brought to light through the excavation. It is marked with the plenty of potsherds including black and red ware, all black ware, black polished ware and red ware. Lid knobs in black ware noticed in considerable number. A more number of potsherds contain painting designs in black and ochre colours. Interestingly some of the painting looks like rock art designs. Graffiti potsherds are other important findings of the excavation.

A large number of graffities were marked on the potsherds. Ship symbol, star design, geometrical designs are some of the interesting marks in the sherds. Besides the potteries, antiquities consisting of terracotta objects include hopscotches, beads, bangles, weights, gamesman, wheel and parts of animal figures. Bangle pieces in materials like glass and shells are among the important antiquities. Semi precious stone Beads were also found in considerable number mainly carnelian, amethyst, quartz and crystal. Other beads also found from the materials like paste and glass. Iron objects like spear head, pieces of swords, knife and other unidentified implements were also found . An ivory neck ornament in oval shape, copper objects like ring, bangle and needle are other minor antiquities at the site. In association with black and red ware sherds iron slags were also observed, endorsing iron-metallurgy activity.

The existence of early historical culture also gleaned from the excavation after the level of iron age habitation at the site. It has been embodied with the black and red ware, black ware, red slipped ware, red polished ware, orange slipped ware, coarse red ware, conical jars and Mediterranean pottery like rouleted ware, grooved roofing tiles, inscribed potsherds and other minor antiquities. Terracotta Ring well was noticed at the depth of 1.05 m in the trench A1 at Irulanthoppu. It consists of more than 23 rings with one meter dia. In order to know the bottom of the ring well the digging was continued up to the 4.60 m. Then the work was interrupted due to the leakage of water at the level of fifteen feet depth. But the rings were going down after reaching the twenty third ring in the well. It is interesting to note that this ring well is one of the deepest wells unearthed from tamil nadu so far. Almost a full shaped perforated conical jar was yet another interesting finding in the excavation. It has irregular holes all over the jar in bumpy intervals. Fragments of Perforated roofing tiles were found associated with brick bats. Rouletted sherds were noticed in the second layer which marked the commercial links between the kanchipuram and other coastal port towns. This sherd having lustrous orange colour in outer portion and grey colour in inner area. Five imitated rouletted sherds also noticed during the excavation. Four potsherds with Tamil Brahmi scripts are unearthed associated with early historical vestiges. It indicates the writing system of the ancient people at the site like other places in tamilnadu.

The trench A1 at irulanthoppu (PPR-II) preserved a clear stratified deposit compare to other trenches in the site. Five layers were noticed. The top two layers yielded iron age and early historical vestiges. Below these layers was ferruginous gravel layer that had the microlithic artifacts. The upper palaeolithic blades were occurred in the laterite deposit. The middle Palaeolithic tools were found below the laterite which composed with red gravel with sriperumbudur shale.

A pragmatic study of the cultural vestiges and the in-situ study of findings gleaned from that the cultural deposit at pattaraipeumbudur can be divided into Stone age period, Iron age period and Early historical period.